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Clare Twomey

Is it Madness. Is it Beauty, 2010
Live performance

Performed as part of Act of Making Festival, Is It Madness.  Is It Beauty is a performance that explores the relationship between repetitive actions and the desire to achieve within the human condition. Over a period of five days performers follow a specific series of tasks in a set order, which are repeated continually for four hours each day.

Is it Madness. Is it Beauty. Clare Twomey. Photo: Sophie Mutivelian

During each of the Acts of Making festivals, this ephemeral performance was presented in two stages. During the first week of the festival the work was an unperformed installation in the exhibition space.   It remained still until the second week of the festival, where it was performed daily for four hours.  At each of the Acts of Making festival venues, Twomey trained local art students and artists to perform the work.  

Acts of Making, Bilston.  Clare Twomey, Is It Madness. Is It Beauty, 2010.  Photo: Sophie Mutevelian.

The work was first commissioned in 2010 by Siobhan Davies Dance. Twomey used the material qualities of clay to create a performance that responded to the repetitive actions choreographed for the dancers.

The unfired clay pots will always collapse when filled with water, forcing the performer to continually start the task again. The role of the performer is to remain completely focused on their simple repetitive actions. Each time this work is performed it can never be repeated in the same way, creating a unique ephemeral version of the performance.

Acts of Making, Bilston.  Clare Twomey, Is It Madness. Is It Beauty, 2010.  Photo: Sophie Mutevelian.

About the artist:
Clare Twomey works with clay to create large-scale installations, sculptural and site-specific work. Both materials and people are central to her approach. She questions the role of the maker and the role of the audience within contemporary craft practice, as well as interrogating the lifespan of an artwork.

Over the past ten years she has exhibited at Tate, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Crafts Council, the Royal Academy of Art and the Museum of Modern Art Kyoto, Japan.

Other artists in Acts of Making;

Catherine Bertola
Keith Harrison
Owl Project
Mah Rana
Richard William Wheater